What Is a Hosted Phone System?
The nbn™ has brought faster and more reliable internet connections to both residential customers and business owners. But it also means retiring the old copper line network previously used for both internet access and phone calls. Phone calls are still possible with the nbn™ but using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology instead. With most NBN modems having a port that connects traditional handsets, this switch hasn’t affected most residential customers. The same cannot be said for businesses without an IP-enabled PBX system.
Traditional PBX systems are costly, not only in terms of the equipment, but also the installation and maintenance. This has meant businesses have often held onto older systems for longer than they should.
With a hosted phone system–or Virtual PBX–the entire PBX system is hosted in the cloud. It gives your business all the benefits and features of a traditional PBX system, without the need for onsite servers and the associated costs. Hosted phone systems support the use of physical handsets but don’t require them because calls can be routed through softphones and mobile phones too.
Beyond the initial installation and setup costs, the ongoing costs of a hosted phone system can be significantly lower than a traditional PBX. With the added benefit of being able to easily scale up or down to meet your business needs.
How Does It Work?
A hosted phone system sees all calls to and from your business directed through a Virtual PBX system installed on the servers of a hosted phone service provider. To sign up for a cloud phone system, your business needs to have a suitable nbn™ connection, and you need to know whether you want physical handsets or have calls go through softphones and mobile phones. A softphone is a virtual phone, with calls made and received using a computer or mobile app.
If you decide on physical handsets, then they are simply connected to active internet ports in your business. If you decide on apps, they are downloaded from the internet and set up using your providers settings.
Incoming calls can either be managed by a receptionist using a computer app or smart handset, or using built-in features such as an auto-receptionist or a smart queueing system. Configuration of most of the features of your hosted phone system can be done by you onsite through an online web portal, with the more technical aspects of the system managed offsite by the server and your provider.
Features of a Cloud-Based Phone System
With cloud-based phone systems such as Commander Phone, you can expect all the basic features that come with a traditional PBX system, along with a host of add-on smart features. These include:
- Auto Receptionist - automated answering of all incoming calls with a personalised message. Customers can then choose from pre-defined options to have their call sent to the correct department or to speak to an operator.
- Voicemail to Email - voicemails can be sent to your email so they can be accessed from anywhere, even when you're not in the office.
- Simultaneous Ring - you can choose to have incoming calls ring on your Commander Phone and another number like your mobile at the same time.
- Hunt Group - incoming calls can be distributed between your available lines. Useful in large departments where customers don't need to speak to a specific person all the time.
- Call Transfer - push an active call to team member extensions or even external numbers.
- Intercom - Use your Commander Phone handset to quickly get in touch with other people in the office.
- Fax2Email - you would still need a standalone Commander NBN Business Line for sending faxes–and for EFTPOS machines–but incoming faxes can be sent directly to a designated user’s email inbox as a PDF attachment.
- Music on Hold - Play custom announcements and music to your customers while they wait on hold.
- Reports - easy access to various reports recording call volume, call details, users, and more, all of which can be used to adapt your hosted phone service to the needs of the business.
Benefits of a Virtual PBX
Whether yours is a small, medium, or large-sized enterprise, one of the biggest benefits of a Virtual PBX system is the cost to install and support. When switching to a hosted phone system for the first time, there might be a need to update or install more cabling, depending on any hardware you have opted to include. Basic and certain smart features would be included with the virtual system, with more advanced options available as add-ons that you only need to include and pay for if needed.
The ease with which a hosted phone system can scale according to your needs is a great benefit for growing businesses. New cabling is only needed if you are included a desktop phone–not for cordless phones and softphone options–and there is no need to add a new line, only a new plan to your existing system. The entire system is also configurable and highly customisable through an online dashboard, making it easy for you to make changes to most features without getting a technician out.
Businesses with multiple branches or distributed offices also don’t need a separate PBX system for each location. A single installation can manage calls for all locations, as long as each location has an appropriate nbn™ connection.
Finally businesses can forego the need for long-term contracts, with standard plans on month to month agreements.
What You Need for a Hosted Phone System
The basic requirements for a hosted phone system are simple:
- You need a hosted phone system provider that offers a system with all the features you need now, and the ability to scale and adapt as your business grows.
- A suitable nbn™ plan, either from your phone system provider or another nbn™ provider.
- Power and an internet connection at every desk where you want a handset.
- And, if you want to avoid power outages affecting your ability to make and receive calls on your hosted phone system, having a quality uninterruptible power supply (UPS) solution is also essential.
Once you start discussing your needs with hosted phone system providers, they will inform you of any other requirements where necessary.
Get in touch with our sales team to learn more about how your business can benefit from the Commander Phone hosted phone system.